Oh, it is so easy to feel sorry for myself, you know those self-pity days?
My mom used to tease us with this rhyme:
“Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I’m gonna eat some worms worms worms worms
Fat and juicy ones, small and skinny ones, I’m gonna eat some worms”
If we felt sorry for ourselves, she would sing it and it would be a funny way to bring perspective - although the person with self-pity wouldn’t always think it was funny.
Our - or should I say my - fleshly tendency can be to focus on myself and to see any ‘huge’ sacrifice as a reason for feeling sorry for myself: ’Oh I worked so hard, Oh I did so much, Oh I gave so much.’ And all the focus moves to me - me, myself and I - the UNholy trinity!
As a believer in Jesus, I entered a new Kingdom with a new King. This King’s whole rulership was bought by sacrifice. So, when I tend to go through anything difficult, I try to see how Jesus did it and how His example played out. In Hebrews 12 v 1 & 2 it says
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
In this verse, the Lord encourages us to look at Him. The Greek word for looking is: to ‘consider attentively’. I need to consider attentively what He went through - so that I can endure. He remains the ultimate example and when I accepted His sacrifice on the cross, I am a new person - a person that is enabled through His example and His Spirit.
A few years ago a song was released, the lyrics echoed that Jesus gave up something when He came to earth. I could not hear the words of the song and asked a friend - what does the song say? What did Jesus have to give up to come to earth? His answer changed my life!
He said: Jesus had to give up the glory of heaven.
I had obviously realised who Jesus was and that He died on the cross - that was the basic christian message - right? But somehow I just never thought about what else He sacrificed!
When I started thinking about it, it really did change my life and the things that I had to sacrifice started fading in comparison!
What did Jesus sacrifice?
Well, for one He sacrificed the glory of the Presence of His Father. He sacrificed being in a glorious place of no sin, surrounded by Good day and night (God is Good);
He sacrificed the sweet fellowship of the Trinity - His Father and the Holy Spirit;
He sacrificed being surrounded by angels and worship day and night;
He sacrificed by living among mortals, who were not trustworthy and even tried to kill Him - something He would never have experienced in heaven;
But then the one that touches me the most - He was willing to go to the cross, to be abandoned by His loving Father, for us to never have to experience that abandonment. God had to abandon Jesus on that cross so that the full extent of the wrath of God was poured out on Jesus. God the Father had to look away when His Son carried the sin of the world and was nailed for it, to the cross.
When I think of being a living sacrifice for Jesus it means that I become like Him. If I just want to partake in His blessings, then I am not fully immersed in Him. The cross is the ultimate example of sacrifice and if we say we are crucified with Christ, it means we are actually crucified. That takes sacrifice.
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave (delivered up) Himself for me.
He delivered Himself up for me…
I will never have to give up what Jesus had to give up. Actually, I will never even come close to what He sacrificed. So, if in my life, I come across the opportunity to give something up, especially in obedience to Him, it is a privilege.
I have said many times that if I was sent to the cross, I would have done it kicking and screaming!! I do not like pain and no matter what my ‘levels of holiness’ are, I do not like sacrificing anything that is pleasant or valuable to me! If I have to give something up or suffer for the will of God in my life, then I really have to hang onto the above thoughts - that it is still nothing in comparison to what Jesus gave up. Honestly I think the only time it is good to compare yourself with anybody is when we compare ourselves with Jesus. We will always be humbled by the incredibleness of what He went through for us.
My prayer is that my life will count. If I look at the example of Jesus, whose life counted the most of anybody’s ever - His life was also the biggest sacrifice known to man. He reaped the most glorious place in heaven - He now carries the name that is above every name and every knee will bow before Him.
Sacrifice is a privilege.
So, let us run with endurance and keep our eyes on the author and the finisher of our faith, let us hold onto the joy that will be ours, waiting eagerly and expectantly, because we will surely reap what we have sown. May we not grow weary, but do good as far and wide as we can, knowing God sees all and will reward us in due time.
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh, will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit, will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Lord, may we live a life of sacrifice to Your glory!
Liesl Mare is a regular contributor at Women of Reverence.
Read full bio here